Brooklyn, NY | Bryant Navarro came up clutch for the Dolphins in the CUNYAC Semifinals against John Jay, securing the extra time golden goal to send them through to the CUNYAC Championship game, giving the No. 1 seeded Dolphins a 2-1 win over the No. 4 Bloodhounds. The win boosted the Dolphins’ record to 15-4 on the year while the Bloodhounds closed their season 6-9-1.
It was the Bloodhounds that struck first on a crisp turf in Brooklyn, NY. Joey Liccardi found an opening between the Dolphins defenders and received a through ball over the top from Mergim Mehmeti. Christian Carucci hesitated to come off of his line after some miscommunication which allowed Liccardi to tuck it past Carucci.
The Dolphins, now down a goal just 9 minutes into the game, had to settle in and start playing their style of soccer. Staten Island continued to uncork shots towards net but several were blocked by defenders. John Jay goalkeeper, Steven Towler, was called upon just twice in the first half on shots by Philip Lefkowitz and Carlos Montesinos.
Staten Island went into the half down 1-0 for the first time this season against a CUNYAC opponent. In fact, the Dolphins allowed just one goal all season in CUNYAC play which came during a 16-1 drubbing of York College.
The Dolphins came out in the second had with a new found energy and put the Bloodhounds’ defense to the test. Their meeting during the regular season saw the Dolphins ease past them via a 5-0 scoreline. 20 minutes into the second half, junior defender, Ryan Layman stepped over the ball from 35 yards out after the Dolphins won a free kick. Layman launched his shot towards goal and beat an outstretched Towler to knot the game up at one.
Staten Island would fire off seven more shots before the final whistle but only two were put on frame, sending the game into extra time.
With momentum on their side carried over from regulation, the Dolphins took full advantage and put an end to the game just 58 seconds into extra time. Lefkowitz found Navarro in the box where Navarro was able to put it in the back of the net to push Staten Island onto the finals.
The Dolphins will now face No. 2 Baruch, a 3-0 winner over No. 3 Lehman, in the CUNYAC Championship game on Saturday, November 3, at 4:30pm.